Gardening with birds


DIY and how-to

A European robin splashing in a stone bird bath filled with water, surrounded by green grass.

Gardening with birds

Birds play a vital role in the new, holistic approach to gardening.  Birds are nature’s way of keeping insect populations under control, but in order to benefit from this, you need to change the way you garden to provide an attractive environment for birds.

  • The first step is to provide a safe haven for birds. Birds require a place to nest, to shelter from extreme weather and take refuge from predators like cats and hawks.  Trees like acacias and shrubs like carissa are ideal to provide this safe haven.
  • The second step is to provide food for birds. There are two approaches, the “artificial” and the “natural”.  The artificial is where you provide food to attract birds to your garden. This is done by placing a feeder with seed and/or fruit in your garden. Place the feeder high enough so that cats are unable to attack the birds while they feed.  Also place the feeder near a tree or large shrub so that if they feel threatened they can flee to that refuge. Daro wild bird feeders are easy to use and will help you to attract wild birds to your garden. Simply fill the wild bird feeder with Daro wild bird seed and hang outside out of reach of other animals. Depending on your geographical location, the wild bird feeder will attract a variety of endemic birdlife. Humming birds can be attracted to the garden using a sugar bird feeder.
  • The natural approach entails planting a variety of plants that will provide the birds with a source of nectar, seeds and fruit.  Plants that are good nectar sources are salvias, ericas, agapanthus, fuchsias, Cape honeysuckle, aloes, red hot poker and wild dagga. Plants that provide fruit and seeds are Cape ash, fig trees, Wit stinkhout, Bushman’s poison, Mickey Mouse bush and Cape myrtle. A healthy lawn is also a good source of insects for birds.
  • The third step is to provide fresh water for birds to drink and bath in.  Like the feeder, this needs to be placed away from cats and near a place of refuge.

If you are trying to control pests in your garden, attracting birds will go a long way to help.  Weed and insect killers are expensive and toxic to the environment; while birds don’t cause damage at all and are pleasant to have around.